Many of us only think of grilled vegetables, fruit and seafood when entertaining in the backyard. It is truly a great way to prepare these foods but it is not the only way. Did you ever think about smoking them? Probably not and rightly so. Most foods that can be grilled can also be smoked.
Why smoke them? Well, smoking adds another element to the flavor profile of the intent food. Also, the flavor profile can be altered to “change it up” when you want to try something different.
Do you have to have a smoker? No, you can get very close to the flavor of a smoker on a gas grill. Since a gas grill only uses propane or natural gas you will have to use one of the many smoke generators available.
Here are just a few of the foods that lend themselves to smoking:
Cheese attracts smoke real well. Place the cheese on a cookie rack, place in your UNLIT grill and place the smoke generator on the grill grate. Usually 15 mins. to 1 hour is sufficient. Softer cheeses, reduce the smoke time to your desired taste. Fruit flavored smoke works best.
Potatoes do real well in a smoker. Keep the skin on and rub with vegetable oil and coat with Kosher or Himalayan salt and place in the smoker and cook till tender. Hickory and pecan works best.
Oysters are simply delicious when smoked. It is best to have moisture (water pan) under the oysters if they are closed. If you open them the moisture source is not necessary. Smoke until the oysters open but leave them on for 15 minutes longer so the smoke gets to the interior. If open allow 15 minutes on the smoke. Peach, apple and alder are perfect for oysters. Take the same approach with scallops, fish (cook to internal temp 145) and shrimp.
Hard Boiled Eggs-
Who would even think it wise to smoke hard boiled eggs? Well, they are very tasty. Boil the eggs, peel and put in the smoker for about 25-30 minutes with sugar maple, peach or apple smoke.
Smoked peaches are great by themselves or over ice cream as a desert. Half the peaches and remove the pit. Peach or apple smoke is the best. Allow the peaches to smoke for about 20 minutes.
These are just a few to start with and the only limitation is your own imagination.
A fresh piece of salmon is hard to beat when grilled over charcoal or on a gas grill.
Here are couple of tips for a successful cook:
Check the fillet for “belly bones” (pinbones) and remove.
Make sure your cooking grate is thoroughly cleaned to avoid sticking.
Make sure the grill is preheated before putting the salmon on the cooking grate.
Place the salmon on a piece of foil, season and use the foil to easily slide the salmon onto the cooking grate.
Place the fillet perpendicular to the cooking grate.
For smoking, Alder is a preferred wood but at Grillbilllies we can only source kiln dried wood which we will not sell so we use sugar maple as a substitute.
When cutting to serve, cut the fillet width wise but do not cut through the skin. Use a spatula and place it between the meat and the skin to serve.
Serves 4 to 6
2+ lb. skin on salmon fillet
2 Sugar maple wood chunks 2″ to 3″ or 1/2 lb. of sugar maple pellets
3 oz. Vegetable oil
2 tbsp. Dizzy Pig Raging River, Tsunami or Pineapple Head
1 medium size lemon
1 tbsp.. Fresh chopped parsley
Mix the Oakridge Game Changer per the label instructions.
Place the fillet in the brine, cover, place in the fridge and let sit for about 3 hours.
15 mins. before removing the fillet from the brine start the grill. If cooking on charcoal start the grill 1/2 hour before.
With a paper towel, oil the cooking grate well.
Grilling with charcoal-
Once you have achieved a good coal bed place wood chunks right on the lit coals. Give the coals about 5 to 10 mins. to produce “good smoke”.
Grilling with a gas grill-
If you decide to use pellets, follow the instructions on the package for placing pellets on the grill. Unlike wood chunks, once the pellets are lit and the is grill up to temp place the fillet on the cooking grate.
Take a piece of foil that is large enough to fit the fillet, lightly coat the foil with oil large enough for the flllet.
Remove from the fillet from the brine, place on the heavy duty foil skin side down, blot dry, coat the topside with a light coat of oil and season.
When the grill temp is around 350 degrees, slide the fillet off the foil onto the grill and close the lid.
The cook time is dependent on the thickness of the fillet but normally 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
When the internal temp reaches 145 degrees remove from the grill with 2 regular sized spatulas or a wide fish spatula..
Add a few thinned cut lemon slices on top and sprinkle a light coat of parsley and serve.
When we think barbecue the beverage of choice that usually comes to mind is beer. An old saying at GrillBillies is that “one of the B’s in BBQ” must stand for beer. Yes, that beverage we can always find a reason to consume while sitting next to our smoker or grill. It’s natural and it’s American!! So why are we talking about wine?
Well, with the surge in popularization of barbecue the “wineos” have entered the arena. Like craft beer showing up at a barbecue so is the same with wine. The art of turning out great “Q” is no longer left to the beer drinking “die-hards” that built their own smokers and brave the elements whether it be sub zero or scorching hot. The enthusiasm for great barbecue is covered by all walks of life and therefore many enjoy a good bottle of wine with their barbecue.
Selecting the right wine can be as important as selecting the right sauce or seasoning to complement your “Q” of the day. Whether you are grilling or smoking pork, chicken, brisket or fish no one single wine is a “go to” that will do the job best. There are many factors that will effect the best selection beside just the meat. Are the seasoning or sauce spicy, sweet, tart? Are we cooking in blazing heat or like we are at the North Pole? Oh, and the palettes of the guest but we can’t deal with that because there will always be a difference of opinion and we know what opinions are like! We will stick with the basic rules, but with that being said rules are meant to broken, so drink what you like.
Here is cryptic look at the GrillBillies selections that we feel works best with various types of barbecue and conditions (Oh, we practice what we preach).
Chardonnay*, Chenin Blac, White Burgundy
Cabernet, Malbec, Zinfandel, Barolo, Meritage, Amarone*, Ripasso*
Bordeaux, Cabernet*, Barolo*, Amarone, Ripasso
Chardonnay, White Burgundy, Merlot, Pinot Noir*, Sauvignon Blanc, Dry Rose
White Burgundy*, Chardonnay
Riesling, Pinot Gris, Vouvray*, Prosecco, Cava
Spicy Seasonings or Sauces-
Zinfadel*, Syrah, Malbec
Grilled Vegetables, Shrimp, Shell Fish-
Sauvignon Blanc (Fume Blanc)
Summer Heat (all purpose)-
Cool Dry Rose
Winter Cold ( all purpose)-
Cabernet, Zinfandel, Malbec——Shine????